Viodi View – 05/03/12

A video travelogue of the telecom industry and its related applications is one way to think about the Viodi View or, at least ViodiTV. The intent of the video interviews and stories from around the country is to augment what is in the news or what should be in the news. The nuggets we get from folks in our interviews often have wisdom that surpasses the instant news cycle of the Internet and social media. It is an honor to interview so many subject matter experts in so many of the key technology, business and regulatory areas that impact broadband and its deployment.


Breaking Down Silos and Unifying The Experience

Ken Pyle interviews Parks Associates' Melissa Duchin at the Smart Energy Summit.A theme of the Parks Associates’ Smart Energy Summit was the cloud as central to smart energy realities. The inherent nature of cloud computing, coupled with broadband, will break down the silos between different types of services. Melissa Duchin, Research Analyst for Parks Associates, discusses this and other take-aways from the Smart Energy Summit in the above video interview. Companies originating from these different silos, whether retail, energy, security or service provider, will end up competing and/or will be working together, as the cloud breaks down the barriers. This conversation is sure to continue at the 17th annual CONNECTIONS™ at CTIA 2013, which ViodiTV will be covering for Parks Associates. Click here to view.


One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Ken Pyle interviews Brent Christensen at the MTA 2013 Annual Convention.“One of the things the FCC Transformation Order has failed to address is the value piece of telephone service; one size fits all is not the way it is,” said MTA president and CEO Brent Christensen. In this interview, Christensen reflects on the interactive video conference with FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (who was just name interim FCC Chair, while Tom Wheeler nomination works its way through the process) that he co-moderated with NTCA’s Shirley Bloomfield.

He indicates that is important for regulators and lawmakers to visit rural areas and that the MTA is actively serving as a bridge to make those visits and connections happen. He also touches upon the role of Federal versus State regulation, as what is regulated changes from application (e.g. telephone) to platform (broadband). Click here to view.


“Service Provider SDN” Network Virtualization and the ETSI NFV WG by Alan Weissberger

This article will examine network operator motivation for “Service Provider SDN,” and then raise the question whether the solution might be some form of Network Virtualization instead of the ONS SDN-Open Flow standard(s).  We reference VMware’s version of Network Virtualization which is currently available and will soon be enhanced.  The ETSI Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) activity  is described and properly positioned, especially in light of mis-leading vendor support claims. Click here to read more.


Open Network Foundation & Other Organizations; ONF-Optical Transport WG; Ciena & SDN by Alan Weissberger

SDN Reference Architecture is depicted in this diagram.The above article examines the motivation and current work of the ETSI NFV WG and questioned whether service providers might prefer to base “software control” of their networks on that standards initiative, rather than SDN-Open Flow from the ONF.

Dan Pitt, ONF Executive Director (and a colleague of this author for 30 years) acknowledged the SDN carrier issue in an email: “During the Open Network Summit, there was a lot of interest and discussion around the impact of SDN on carriers, service providers and the telecommunications industry. At ONF, we are excited to continue our close work with the ETSI network-operator-led Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Industry Specification Group (ISG).” Click here to read more.


Looking Back at an Early Digital Divide

Ken Pyle interviews former ACA Board member, Tom Seale.Tom Seale, former CFO of Buford Media and early board member of ACA, talks about the formation of the ACA, the motivation for and the challenges of organizing independent cable operators into an association. He points out that there was a digital divide that existed between the smaller and larger operators at that time. Now, In the banking industry and out of the cable industry, Seale brings an interesting historical perspective to the ACA and the industry. Click here to view.


Some Tweets and Short Thoughts:

  • More broadband to the farm is needed, based on an implication from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article on using drones as precise data collection devices, “Eventually, farmers will likely depend on third parties to analyze the data and images received by drones.” The implication is cloud and most likely significant amounts of data transmission from farm to data-center (particularly if they are transmitting infrared images to third-party computers for number-crunching).
  • Stumbled upon this article that was written a couple years ago and can’t remember ever seeing it when it was published. It is an accurate overview of what we did to help bring interactivity to a conference on interactive TV.
  • Is there a way to bridge Minecraft between Xbox & PC? Seems like a useful service (Bridging PS3 & Xbox another $1M idea)

The Korner – 3 Tips for Building Community Broadband – Part 2

Ken Pyle interviews Dr. Tim Nulty at the 2012 Broadband Communities Summit.In part 2 of this two-part interview, Dr. Tim Nulty suggests that those wishing to replicate  ecFiber.net‘s rural broadband network build-out should follow these three basic steps:

  1. Develop a lean business plan and and a lean network.
  2. Organize an institution that can implement the plan and maintain the network. He describes an interesting public-private partnership to make this happen.
  3. Finance the project, which is the most difficult. Nulty indicates that the capital for building the networks  is coming from both inside and outside the community and beyond in the form of tax-exempt loans made by individuals who want both a return, as well as fiber to their community.

In this interview, Nulty describes an organizational structure that is unique and one that separates politics from operations.

For additional alternative ways to think about financing an FTTH network, check out this 2008 white paper, co-authored by a Google policy person and pointed out this week by someone in a LinkedIn group. The condo model described in that paper, where a neighborhood or a group of farmers owns the fibers, is especially interesting for those looking at ways to jump start a fiber network initiative.

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